If you lived 200 or 300 years ago, bread would most likely have been an integral part of your diet. The lower your social class, the more you relied on bread—it was cheap, full of calories, and tasty.
And back then, odds are the bread you were eating would have been made from a stone-ground, whole wheat flour much like the flours Arrowhead Mills produces today.
Unlike conventional grain producers that churn out refined white flour, Arrowhead Mills grinds grain into flour the old fashioned way—in a natural stone mill. This milling process means every part of the grain—the germ, the bran, and the endosperm—gets ground up into the flour, which means all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from the wheat end up in the finished product.
When flour is refined, producers remove the bran, also removing much of the fiber and vitamins. Most refined flour is also bleached. Although we expect flour to be a bright white color, it's actually naturally a pale yellow. Traditionally, flour is aged for a few weeks to allow gluten proteins the chance to lengthen, making for more elastic doughs. Aging the flour also causes it to turn white.
As modern consumers have become more impatient, however, manufacturers have started using chemicals to speed up the aging process and artificially bleach the flour. These chemicals—including ascorbic acid, potassium bromate, and benzoil peroxide—linger in the flour after it's bleached.
Health-food advocate and farmer Frank Ford founded Arrowhead Mills in 1960 in Hereford, Texas to give consumers healthier grain options. The name Arrowhead Mills? It comes from the stone arrowhead Ford found on the farm.
In nutrition and eco-friendliness, Arrowhead Mills' flour are worlds better than the usual bleached white flour you see on grocery store shelves. All of the company's flours are USDA certified organic, as well as 70 percent of their overall products. Another 63 percent of Arrowhead Mills products are Non-GMO Project verified. Plus, nearly half of the ingredients this company uses in their products come from farms within a 250 mile radius of their Hereford plant.
That's not even taking into account the company's extensive selection of gluten-free flours, cereals, and baking mixes. There's really something for everyone—from organic popcorn, to barley, to cake mixes, Arrowhead Mills has it all.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont